Running to Stand Still

Getback frontman José Flores is an amiable, quick-witted guy.

Awaiting the arrival of drummer Juan Rotulo, a freelance writer for a Spanish-language men's magazine; and bassist Danny Palacios, an accountant getting the jump on tax season, he calmly sips a coffee.

As Flores reminisces about his early days in the Getback, a rose-color nostalgia creeps into his dialogue that betrays the band's slash-and-burn image. "We formed March 1998 as Corky, obviously trying to come up with the worst possible name," Flores says. "It was always a joke."

The Getback
The Getback

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performs with Stay Hitt, Scott H. Biram, the Remnants, and Libyan Hit Squad on Friday, February 3, at Churchill's, 5501 NE 2nd Ave, Miami. Cover is $6. Doors open at 8:00 p.m. For more information, call 305-757-1807.

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But it's easier to remember the good times than the bad, and the story of the Getback is more of a tragedy than a comedy.

The bandmates had a typical rock and roll trajectory: initial success followed by gradual excess and subsequent turmoil that threatened to capsize them. And though the Getback is one of South Florida's most highly regarded punk bands, Friday's show at Churchill's will be the group's first in almost two years.

At its peak, the Getback was the tightest punk rock unit this side of Georgia. Its rock and roll was simple — no frills, no bullshit.

Drawing from their Latin American roots — Flores and Palacios are Cuban-American; Rotulo and lead guitarist Gustavo Gonzales hail from Argentina — the four blended Ramones attitude with Rolling Stones endurance. On January 3, 2003, they unleashed their seven-song EP Right About Now (IOU Records) to a packed house at Soho Lounge.

For Flores success soon turned to excess.

Drinking and partying escalated to full-blown alcoholism and substance abuse. "I never had any money, I stopped showing up, I was faking illnesses — you know, living the rock star life without actually being one," Flores comments.

"José wasn't as open with us and we didn't know he had a drinking problem, but he was fucked up all the time," Rotulo confesses. The drummer suggests Palacios, responsible for most of the EP funding, found it "easier to blame José — it didn't seem like there was any initiative on his end."

Their last official show was almost two years ago at the Delray Beach VFW Hall. Following their performance, Flores embarked on a self-imposed clean-up sabbatical.

During the past year and a half, Flores has mastered sobriety and grown up a little.

As the band prepares for its first gig in nearly almost two years, the atmosphere is more amiable. Flores's days of hard living appear to be behind him, and he's optimistic about the future — his career as a rock and roll casualty.

"A lot of the music now seems like a stage to me. I can't see myself doing it in the future," Flores admits.

 
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